Kitchen Kindergarten – Math & Literacy Distance Learning

Digital is not an enemy – it’s a new possibility.”

Carla Rinaldi, President of Reggio

I try to spend most of my life living in a space of thinking about what’s possible. And sometimes that’s hard. Really hard. Lately, it’s been an ongoing challenge. I never thought I would be considering ways to teach four and five year olds remotely. And yet, here we are. When Carla Rinaldi suggested that digital is a “new possibility”, it opened my eyes to viewing distance learning in a new light. As I reflect back on four months of distance learning with kindergarteners, I realize that we had several successful routines and learning adventures, as I’m sure you all had, as well. It’s important for me to share them and to invite you to share yours, as this is the way we can grow and learn together – making our journey into distance learning the best it can be. And remembering that this is temporary.

Our job is too difficult and too beautiful to do alone.”

Amelia Gambetti, Reggio Emilia, April 2015 (quote from Diane Kashin’s blog)

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ve heard me write about my firm belief that we teach children first and foremost – not standards, curriculum or programs. I think we really need to remember that as we move to virtual teaching in the foreseeable future. At a wonderful webinar by Mike Flynn, he said, “good online teaching is good teaching – don’t let the ed-tech get in the way.” We need to focus on our students first, then what good in-person teaching would look like and then choose a tech tool that matches. We can’t focus first on the fancy technology that might be flashy and look cool, but may not be what our students need.

I used Google Meet because it was one of the approved platforms in my district. You can do these things on Zoom or Microsoft Teams and I’m sure other platforms that I’m not familiar with. Blackboard Collaborate Ultra will present more challenges, because of the inability to see more than 5 people at a time on the screen, but it’s still possible to adapt for your online platform if that’s what you have to use. I’d like to continue this blog series with a look into a few things that worked for us in math and literacy learning in whole group. You can find my previous post here.

Math

I continued the number talks and math routines that we were used to doing in the classroom and adapted them for a virtual setting. Here are a few of the ones that worked well, with links to explain them further.

  • Finger patterns were a favorite, and we used them in a variety of ways. This required being able to see everyone on the screen, something that I felt was essential for many reasons – finger patterns being one of them. I had a magnetic 10 frame and number cards from the fabulous Tiny Polka Dot math game that I would show the kids. The kids would then use their fingers to show me the number in multiple ways. This might sound like, “How many? Show me on your fingers. I see 3 and 4. Can you show me 7 a different way? I see 2 and 5.”
  • Which One Doesn’t Belong? – We used Christopher Danielson’s book in the classroom along with this website and created many of these images on our own in Google Slides. This was an easy math routine to adapt to virtual by sharing the screen and recording children’s thinking in the Jamboard or Google Document.
  • How Many? – This is another excellent math book by Christopher Danielson, but the book is just a starting point. Once you start thinking “how many?” when looking at objects, you start taking pictures of all sorts of things! When you water your garden, when you’re organizing painting supplies, when your running shoes overflow the closet (OK, maybe that’s just me) – all are opportunities for a math talk that begins with the question, “how many?” I love these talks because there are so many possibilities and it gives kids a chance to count, explain their thinking and think beyond rote counting. Choosing highly engaging photos hooks kids right away and makes for an exciting math talk.
  • Three Act Tasks – I had a lot of success using these in virtual learning. This website will explain what a 3-Act Task is. These are highly engaging and really challenge kids to think and explain their thinking.
  • Is it Fair? and Who Is Hiding?– Antonia Cameron, Patricia Gallahue and Danielle Iacoviello’s wonderful new book Early Childhood Math Routines explains these routines in depth. This blog post shows you how an Is it Fair? routine might go. Using photos that kids are familiar with and their names makes this engaging and a rich mathematical conversation, where kids have to decide and justify if an image is fair or not. Who Is Hiding? is another quick image routine that supports oral language and helps them make meaning through conversation as new information is presented. These open-ended math routines encourage rich conversation and debate and work well in a virtual platform.
Who Is Hiding? is a quick image routine that encourages close looking, wondering and meaningful conversation. Choose a photo that connects with your kids and content and create a Google Slides document where you can slowly reveal the picture – removing pieces with each slide.

Literacy

Literacy continued to be woven throughout our virtual classes, just as it was in the classroom. Here are a few things we did routinely in virtual learning.

  • Read aloud – I made sure to read aloud at least one book for every session we had. I shared in my earlier post how I shared the screen and used a digital text for read alouds. This let everyone see the words and pictures clearly. I also created a private YouTube channel where I read aloud books for kids to listen to on their own. Children need to hear us reading aloud and engage in conversations about books on a virtual platform as much as in a classroom.
  • Shared Reading – I used a variety of texts for shared reading. I brought several big books and charts home, but I found that children couldn’t see them as well on the screen. I would like to play around more with document cameras and a way to continue using our beloved big books. Poems, chants and big books in Google Slides, Jamboard and SMART Notebook worked well. I took a photo of our class anchor chart listing what readers do, and I placed that photo next to the shared reading text – just like we would have it hanging near our shared reading text in the classroom. I used my cursor as the pointer. I also learned that you can make your cursor larger in your computer’s Accessibility setting (Display – Cursor Size) – and that’s a game changer! Our poetry and song notebooks are such a huge part of our classroom reading life, and I want to continue this practice during distance learning by mailing home copies of the shared reading texts for children to put in their notebooks. Finding a way to distribute these is something that teachers need to think about. It’s important for kids to have hard copies of reading materials – not just digital. We need to figure out a way to routinely get these things into the hands of kids.
  • Shared Writing – I did shared writing on a large piece of paper as well as on a Jamboard or Google Document. If kids can have a white board or paper to write along with you, that’s even better and far more engaging. We continued to co-construct texts such as letters, class books and community stories – just like we did in the classroom. I found that if I was typing the children’s words, I had to slow down considerably. Inviting them to write along with me and share what they wrote in front of the camera helped me with that. Just as in the classroom, our shared writing pieces became shared reading pieces to revisit again and again.
  • Word Work – A magnetic burner cover or a cookie sheet makes a great portable way to do word work virtually. I brought home my magnetic letters and used these often, just as I would in the classroom. With their white boards or paper they could do the word work along with me. I would love for my kids to each have a set of magnet letters – that’s something I’m thinking about for the fall. I recently learned about these letter tiles, and look forward to trying them out.

I want to be back in our classroom more than anything in the world right now. I want to experience the togetherness and pure joy that a classroom full of children brings. I want to hug children, paint with children, hear the joyous roar of children at play and share a book with tiny, squiggling humans on our rug. It physically hurts to know that won’t happen anytime soon. However, we can make distance learning the best it can be right now, at the same time we long to be back in our classrooms full of hugs, love, joy and children’s laughter. Maybe we can even create virtual classrooms that have all of that in a way that’s never happened before – it’s certainly a possibility. Loris Malaguzzi said, “nothing without joy”. How can we create virtual learning spaces that are full of joy?

What has worked well for you? Please share. We are all on this journey together.

Dancing and singing the monarch migration. I miss this.

Kitchen Kindergarten – Distance Learning with Young Children

I haven’t met any early childhood teacher who loves teaching virtually. Perhaps there are some out there, but overwhelmingly teachers want to be in classrooms – playing, hugging, learning and wondering with their students. We were plunged into distance crisis teaching last March, and we will be continuing this type of teaching for some time, I’m afraid. Embracing virtual or distance learning and looking for ways to make it work, and work well, is important, while acknowledging that this is temporary.

Carla Rinaldi, the President of Reggio said, “a digital experience is among the 100 languages – 100 possibilities – 100 ways of approaching reality – of the children. Digital is not an enemy – it’s a new possibility.”

How can we make distance learning the best it can possibly be – a new possibility for our children?

I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on what worked and what didn’t work in virtual or distance learning for my kindergartners. I’m continuing to learn, think, explore and collaborate as I do Kitchen Kindergarten Summer Version – my district’s “continuity of learning” sessions. I will share a few things that I found are working quite well for whole group learning. I will tell you, I’m pretty “low-tech”. I start with what I know works well in the classroom and think about how I can adapt it to virtual teaching. I’m learning a lot more “high-tech” options this summer, but most of these ideas are in the “low-tech” category. I’m planning future posts on whole group, small group, 1:1 and play dates, as well as thoughts for how it might look starting with a new class of kindergartners.

Kitchen Kindergarten – two laptops were KEY – I could see what the kids were seeing when I was sharing my screen.

A few ideas for whole group distance/virtual learning:

Langston’s drawing after a whole group song where kids created a character in each verse.
  • Have a predictable starting and ending routine. We start each Google Meet with a hello drum song, greeting each child by name. We end each Meet with a favorite class song, “Skinnamarinkydink” and then send each other hearts with our hands as we say good-bye to each child on the Meet. Singing virtually is messy, but fun – and so worth the joy of coming together with a song.
  • Plan activities that actively engage the children, rather than have them passively sitting in front of the screen. My kids all have white boards and this is a great way to have them be actively learning. They can write words, numbers, draw, etc.. I found this worked better than the chat box for kindergarten. We practiced letter formation, sight words, number formation, math stories, drawing, names, and played games with our white boards. Have the kids get up to dance, move, find things to share, etc. – just like in the classroom. We wouldn’t have kids sitting passively for 30 minutes in a classroom – it’s important to have lots of opportunities for active learning and movement while on a screen, too.
  • Give children time to talk and engage with each other. We have time each Meet to share stories and show our pets, apartments, toys, backyards and family members. I share my dog, my garden and tell stories of my life at home. Kids share books they made, art they created, and the stories of their lives that we love to hear. Our time virtually is much less than a school day, but we still need to make time to share all those stories that would normally be shared during our school day. It’s how we stay connected and feel like a community. I start each Meet with share time and invite kids to stay on after our scheduled class time ends if they have more stories to share. We often go well beyond the scheduled 30 minutes, but it’s important to hear what they have to say.
  • Hidden Pictures are a huge hit and a wonderful way to work on vocabulary, oral language and directional words and they are highly engaging. Highlights for Kids (remember the magazines in the doctor’s office when you were a kid?!) has them for free on their website. My kids LOVE them.
  • Puppets! I worked with a teaching artist from Wolf Trap Performing Arts Center this past year and learned so much about puppetry, so it was natural to continue this into our virtual classroom. The children engaged so well with puppets and it is definitely a strategy I will continue to use. Stuffed animals of our favorite book characters, well-known class puppets and some new friends helped me teach new concepts like why we need to wear a mask, and also helped us with navigating big feelings we had, social-emotional learning, retelling stories and engaging with number talks and math stories.
  • Read lots and lots of books and talk about them – just like we do in the classroom! I brought home a ton of books, but I found it was frustrating for the kids to watch me reading a book. They had trouble seeing the pictures, and if their Meets setting wasn’t right, if anyone else talked, their image would replace me. I made the switch over to reading books on a shared screen with a variety of tools. Open Library K-12 Student Library is where I look for titles of books I want to read first – they have so many books available for free. I also use Kindle for their many free digital books, and I’ve purchased some of my all-time favorites. I’m exploring Loom and using a document camera, too.
  • Continue focusing on inquiry and play. Mystery Doug and SciShow Kids are two of my favorite YouTube video sites for exploring questions that kids ask. They are short (3-5 minute) videos that focus on a question and encourage kids to talk and wonder. I found them to be great introductions to a topic. I will show the video and then stop and have a conversation with kids. Then we will do some type of active learning and invitation for kids to try something at home. We explored how airplanes fly and then made our own paper airplanes. We measured how far they could fly with our shoes/steps and then read a book about how to make paper airplanes to give them more ideas. Finally, the kids revised their airplane to see if they could make it fly even further. One day we learned about trees and wondered “what is the biggest tree?” – Mystery Doug pointed out that “biggest” could mean lots of different things and showed us several really cool BIG trees. Then I cut an avocado and showed the kids how they could grow their own avocado tree with an avocado pit, a jar and toothpicks. I leave links and invitations on our Google Classroom after each session for kids to revisit what we did and extend the learning if they choose. It’s also nice for children who didn’t attend the Meet to see what they missed and engage in the learning on their own.
  • Teach the kids how to mute and unmute because of background noise, but don’t control their voices. My friend Christy Thompson wrote a wonderful blog post about this here. Being able to use a tool like Zoom or Meets, where you can see all the kids is SO important. It’s easier for them to slide their voices into a conversation or raise their hands and it’s more like being in the classroom. It’s also so important to be able to see each other, show each other things and feel that sense of community that we all need. They want to see their friends. We have to let the kids see each other, talk and continue creating community in virtual learning.

These are just a few things that I’ve found work well. I’ll continue to share my thinking here. I truly believe that the teachers who have experienced virtual teaching and learning with children are the experts. We need to share our ideas and experiences with each other so that we can be in the best position possible to continue distance learning or resume when necessary this fall. What ideas do you have for whole group virtual learning? Please share!

The Linear Calendar Wall

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“For 5 and 6 year olds, time becomes marked by what happened yesterday, today and what might happen tomorrow.”

Sally Haughey – Fairy Dust Teaching

Our linear calendar is an important teaching tool and classroom routine in our kindergarten world.  This idea was born after many conversations with Kassia Omohundro Weekend, author of Math Exchanges, as we were both beginning new school years teaching kindergarten for the first time. We weren’t satisfied with the typical calendar routines in kindergarten (or the higher grades we had previously taught) and started to ask ourselves what would be a meaningful and authentic engagement for documenting the passage of time. We wanted to incorporate a time line of sorts, along with an audit trail documenting our learning together over the course of a year. The linear calendar has evolved a bit over the past seven years, but it remains an important piece of our classroom journey.

I get a calendar from an office supply store every summer and pull it apart. I display it from August to July on a large bulletin board in our room. Every month is included because I want it to show a full calendar year. The first thing that goes on the calendar is our birthdays. I spend time the first week of school having each child find his or her birthday month and day and put a star sticker on that day. This is how the calendar wall is introduced to the children. I see a lot of talk and curiosity as they ask, “When is my birthday?”, “How many months until my birthday?”, and “Look! My birthday is close to (a friend’s) birthday!”

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Each month, I take that page off the wall and bring it over to our meeting area. We interact with this calendar all month in an authentic way – just like I write in my calendar planner. Together, we write in important events such as Back to School Night, early releases, guest speakers, teacher workdays, holidays, etc. We indicate days we are in school and days we are at home by highlighting weekends and holidays with a yellow marker. I spend time at the beginning of each month showing how the calendar flows into the next month by starting on the next day. This is a tricky concept and one worth talking about every month. Some years I have cut the extra days off the end and beginning of the month so the kids can see how it all fits together. When August ends on a Wednesday, then Thursday is the first day of September.

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Every day we look at the calendar during morning meeting and see what is happening that day and what might be happening later in the week. At the end of the day, we cross out the day and write what day of school we just finished. We look to see what is happening tomorrow and for the rest of the week. I’ve found this SO much more meaningful than a song about what “yesterday, today and tomorrow” is, a sentence frame about what today is and what tomorrow with be or a recitation of reading the calendar – all things I’ve done in the past and yet, in June, many kids didn’t know how to interact with a calendar or tell you when tomorrow is.

The kids interact with this calendar on their own throughout the day. You can see them reading it with pointers, talking about how many days until winter break, counting days until the next birthday, reflecting on things we did in prior months, and having conversations during play, reading, etc. I am always amazed at the meaningful conversations that happen in front of the calendar wall.

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At the end of each month, we reflect on all that we accomplished or experienced that month. We create an interactive writing piece together to summarize the month, and choose pictures to display on our calendar wall. The children and I put this together and display it above the calendar month page. This creates a timeline that captures our year together. Children, families and visitors all enjoy looking at our wall story about the year.

With each month page, I also display the piece of art that each child creates on their birthday, and birthday cards with the child’s name, picture and birth date.

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Engaging the children in meaningful conversation, noticings, experiences and authentic calendar interactions and talk is appropriate and beneficial in kindergarten. It’s also fun!

I’ve found the linear calendar to be an essential tool in the teaching and learning in our classroom. I hope this post is helpful to anyone interested in creating one with their kids! Enjoy!

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Our 2018-2019 calendar wall – ready to go!

 

 

 

“Islands of Certainty” – Learning Sight Words

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Sight words. Flash words. Fast words. Word wall words. Popcorn words. High frequency words. Dolch words. Fry words. Whatever you want to call them – they are the words that appear most often in printed materials. Having a solid core of automatically recognized  sight words makes a huge difference in fluency and comprehension. It allows readers and writers to navigate text more easily, and spend more energy focusing on constructing meaning, problem solving and writing more complex words.

Marie Clay referred to words that children know instantaneously as “islands of certainty, in a sea of print”. She writes that, “in the familiar story the child locates a word he knows and builds a response around it.  Then the child’s reading of text comes to be controlled by particular words even though he can only recognize one or two words” (Clay, 1991). This reminds us of the importance of making sure that everything we do is in the service of meaning. We can’t simply teach kids lists of words to memorize or put these words on flash cards. We have to focus on teaching these words in meaningful text and show our readers how these known words can be “islands of certainty.” We have to help our readers and writers see how to make these words theirs, and how they can use that knowledge in their reading and writing.

Once I’ve determined which words are already known and automatic for each child, I plan the words to introduce for each student and/or group. I typically introduce a new word at the end of a guided reading group, or during interactive writing, but occasionally I do this in a one-on-one reading conference. Regardless, I always make sure it is introduced within the context of meaningful text – either a book we are reading together or a piece of interactive writing.

Selecting a word to teach:

-look at your pre-assessment to determine which word to teach

-choose a high frequency word (four-letter words are easier to learn, don’t start with two-letter words – Marie Clay speaks of this in Literacy Lessons, II. She states that the four-letter words that are frequently used, like: “‘come’, ‘look’, like’, ‘here’, and ‘this’, provide a better introduction to how words work in English than two-letter words like ‘to’, ‘is’, ‘at’, ‘on’, ‘up’, ‘it’ and ‘me’. In some ways, two-letter words are hard, exceptional, and they do not contribute much to dealing with the sequencing or clustering of letters in the language.” (p.41) Also, two-letter words are often visually confusing (on/in, is/si, no/on))

-look for one that occurs in a book the group has read (connect to the known, keep meaning first)

Teaching a new sight word:

Breaking a word into letters:

-teacher quickly assembles a word with magnetic letters on a board on the right hand side of the board

-the teacher demonstrates, with deliberate movements, breaking out the letters – sliding the letters, one at a time, from first to last, to the left on the board – building the word again – then read the word while running finger under the word

-invite a child to try building the word, carefully observing and supporting the left to right movement – then reading the word together

Tracing a word:

-teacher writes word with dry erase marker, then reads the word

-invite child to trace over the letters with her finger, ensure left to right tracing

Connecting to meaningful text:

-look back in the book you’ve read to find the word, search and locate the word on several pages

Connect with writing high frequency words:

-explain that we can learn to write words by learning to look at them carefully when we read

-tell the student to look at the word (either written or the magnetic letters) – run your finger under the word and read it slowly

-ask the child to read it slowly and/or run his finger under it – “Look at it carefully.” – ask the child what they notice about the word

-ask the child to take a picture of it in their brain – ask the child to close his eyes and see the word in his head.  “Can you see the first part? The next part? The last part?”

-ask him to open his eyes and look again at the written word – “run your finger under it and say it slowly”

-invite the child to write the word without looking – if he is hesitant, tell him he can look where you have it written, if he needs to

-the child should say the word slowly as he writes

-compare the word in the book to the one with magnetic letters and to the one the child has written again, reading the words – talk again about what they notice

-remind the child that this is one of their words now, it’s in their brain and they will be able to read and write it from now on and forever!

 

What’s most important is that kids have time to then practice reading these new words in the books they read. They need to see how reading these words fast will allow them to pay attention to other challenges in the books they read and the books they write. They need to have time to read, talk to others, and make meaning from texts that are just right for them. This is when knowing the sight words has the most power – allowing the reader to focus on making meaning, problem solving and constructing a reading processing system.

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Our Environment

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“In order to act as an educator for the child, the environment has to be flexible: it must undergo frequent modification by the children and the teachers in order to remain up-to-date and responsive to their needs to be protagonists in constructing their knowledge.”

Lella Gandini (1998)

 

One of the “big kid” visitors who stops by our classroom every morning before school asked me, “why do you have so many cool things in your room?”. It was a question that has stuck with me. Why do I have so many “cool things” in our room?

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I’m a firm believer that the environment is the third teacher, responsive to both teachers and children creating learning together. We co-construct and negotiate the curriculum together. My classroom can’t look like a cookie cutter model, identical to the one across the hall or identical to the classroom from last year. It must grow and evolve based on who is living in the space right now. I believe that our classroom environment can help shape the identities of the children in that classroom and their relationships with each other. Our space gives power and agency to the children in our room.

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As I look carefully around the room, I see reflections of the children everywhere. The rainforest was created by them, planned, designed and brought to fruition by the kids who took on this challenge. The block area was redesigned by moving it into a bigger space to allow for more children to build – again, initiated by the children. The huge kidney shaped table is a large collaborative work space for art projects – not a reading table with the teacher at the center. The linear calendar reflects important dates for this class – important events, birthdays, field trips, learning experiences that keep track of our shared journey through this school year. One of our bookshelves became an engineering center to store the marble run, the legos, and other building tools because this year the kids are avid builders. Our storytelling kits reflect dances we’ve done (like our baby beetle dance) and books we have read, with tiny toys to retell the experiences we’ve had. There is a basket of Pokemon cards and Pokemon toys that kids have brought in. The kid’s book boxes are overflowing with books that have been chosen by the reader of each individual book box. The classroom library is arranged and labeled by these kids, in a way that works for them. The chandelier that hangs in the center of our room has pieces of art that each child created that is representative of who they are. The photos scattered throughout our room are of children and their families and shared experiences we want to remember. And because I am also a member of this community, my small teaching table has a few things that bring me joy and that I want to share with this community – a picture of me and Judy Blume, a unicorn tape dispenser, a peacock feather, a bowl of shiny rocks – but it is also a work space for children. The mandatory teacher desk I’m required to have in my room serves a great purpose as a stand up work space for provocations and displays that the children create. Currently, it houses materials to build Calder-inspired mobiles and sculptures.

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So why do I have so many “cool things” in our room? Because I have a lot of cool kids. The classroom a reflection of who they are – as individuals and as a community. They own it, and more importantly, they know they have a say in it. Their voices are heard and they are encouraged to contribute and create. They help negotiate what is in the classroom, what goes on our walls, what the space looks like and what is available to explore and create with. Their lives and interests are reflected in the space and it evolves as the children evolve. It’s a collaborative experience of many identities brought together in a year of learning.

 

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Day 10

 

 

Leprechauns and Jaguars

It’s Friday afternoon Explore time in my kindergarten classroom and we have a lot going on. The room is buzzing with the happy sounds of children learning, talking, playing, negotiating problems and enjoying each other. It’s how we begin and end every day.

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A group of kids are working intently on building a leprechaun trap. They are debating ways in which to catch the leprechaun without hurting him. Or “her”, as the conversation turns to deciding what gender leprechauns are, because, “leprechauns can be girls, too…it wouldn’t be fair if leprechauns were all boys, right? Fairies can be girls or boys and leprechauns are the same way.” They decide that having a whole lot of tape on the walls, floor and ceiling will make the leprechaun stick no matter where it runs around in the trap. They then contemplate what will happen if we do catch a leprechaun. Will we build it a house…or maybe it can just live in the fairy house? That one is still up for debate.

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At the art table, two kids are carefully constructing masks to be jaguars in our rainforest dramatic play area. They are looking closely at a picture, talking about the teeth, counting the number of whiskers, picking out materials that will make the mask look and feel like a jaguar and making big plans for the jaguar play that will begin next week. (ummmm…that may be my SOL on Monday…yikes.)

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Meanwhile, a group of kids are building a structure with MagnaTiles and unifix cubes. The unifix cubes are Minecraft people who live in the structure made of squares, triangles and rectangles. The kids talk about what shapes they are using, how to make the structure stronger and deciding roles that each person will play as they go in and out of this structure. To be honest, I don’t really understand the Minecraft play, or the significance of 3 unifix cubes as a person, (and believe me, it HAS to be 3!) but the five kids deeply engaged in the play do. And that’s all that matters.

Finally, a few kids are making mobiles and sculptures inspired by Alexander Calder and our visit to the National Gallery. They are building their art and talking about what the shapes look like, what colors they are and how they could fit together. They are cooperating, collaborating and so very proud of their art.

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I stop and take it all in. Kidwatching. As I watch and listen, I am in awe, yet again, by the power of play. The thinking and creating that happens during our Explore time goes way beyond any standards or curriculum. It’s kid created, meaningful, authentic and deep.  I am grateful to be in a school where play is allowed, honored, encouraged and respected as a critical part of our early childhood classrooms. I wish all schools, and all children, had that gift.

Nothing without joy.

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Day 9

 

 

Currently – In Our Classroom

watching – tall block towers, pieces of art in various stages of completion, children making books, book boxes bursting at the seams, a vet clinic that has just about lost the excitement, legos that have been made into Bayblades and are spinning all over the room

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listening – to children talk about art, “I see….I think…I feel….”, and to children learning how to navigate conversations in authentic ways

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appreciating – the freedom to allow kids to play and a large space to give kids multiple spaces to play, work and live for 180 days

loving – the excitement around our field trip to the National Gallery of Art tomorrow

dancing – the life cycle of a mealworm, which is actually not a worm, but an insect – they become baby beetles

wishing – for more time to do documentation of all the learning that happens every day

planning – the launch of our next PBL – creating an geometry art museum

creating – a collaborative art piece on a canvas with blues and greens for the background – looking forward to adding more things to our mixed media piece

reading – Art Is…, Alfie: (The Turtle That Disappeared), Uni the Unicorn and the Dream Come True, The Big Umbrella, The Water Princess, Sandy’s Circus: A Story About Alexander Calder, Action Jackson, Be Kind, The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art, Love

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writing – nonfiction books, guided reading books for my kids about friends and things they love, labels for our beautiful stuff to create with

wondering – about Reggio practices, about culturally relevant teaching, about what worked well today and what didn’t, about where we are going next

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Day 6